Top five: Football's overachievers

Five players who were written off as youngsters but have since proved their critics wrong

Amrit Kachroo
Published 04/22/2013 15:39 by Amrit Kachroo, read by 6,968 people.

It seems that on a daily basis, football clubs claim to have found the next big player in football.

Players are earmarked as future champions from a young age and whilst some make it, others tend to peeter out and never reach their potential.

Here we take a look at the other end of the stick. We look at five players who were never considered to be future world-beaters as youngster but have come to the fore nevertheless. They may have been written off by many, but they didn't let that stand in their way. Here are five late developers who have proved their critics wrong.

5. Sami Khedira | Real Madrid & Germany 

A virtual unknown at Stuttgart, Khedira was called up for the 2010 World Cup instead of inspirational captain Michael Ballack. Not much was expected of Khedira and many experts were apprehensive of his inclusion but he performed better than expected putting in great performances. Michael Ballack retired shortly after this World Cup. 

Khedira clinched a move to Real Madrid after the World Cup and this was a remarkable turnaround for him as before the World Cup, Khedira wasn't well recognized in Germany itself. 

4. Miguel Michu | Swansea City & Spain 

Four years ago, nobody had ever heard of Michu and his rise to fame has been phenomenal to say the least. Michu played for minor clubs Oviedo and Celta Vigo until Celta released him after missing a penalty in the play-offs. 

This seemed the end of Michu but eventually newly promoted Rayo Vallecano snapped him up. 

At Rayo he flourished, scoring 15 goals in La Liga to become the highest scoring midfielder in the league. Next season, Welsh outfit Swansea signed him up where he exceeded expectations by scoring 17 goals already this season and he scored in crucial away games such as Arsenal at the Emirates. He also got a Spain call-up for the first time in his career this season suggesting how much he has grown. 

3. Javier Hernandez | Manchester United & Mexico 

Hernandez started off his playing career at Chivas in Mexico and no one had heard of him until he made a sensational move to Manchester United and it seemed to be one of the oddest buys of the season. 

It was expected that Hernandez would have a squad role, starting mainly in the Capital One Cup or against lower league sides but he made an instant impact scoring twice to give United a crucial 1-2 win against Stoke. Since that game, Hernandez has made giant strides, relegating then top scorer Dimitar Berbatov to the bench. 

He scored an incredible 13 goals in the league in his first season and continued on the same path for Manchester United and Mexico, scoring 78 goals for club and country since 2010. 

2. Rickie Lambert | Southampton & England 

It wouldn't be expected that a player makes his debut in the Premier League at the age of 31 but Lambert has done just that. Lambert started off his career at Blackpool where he was released and he eventually joined third division side Macclesfield Town. 

After scoring his first career hat-trick, Lambert moved to secondnd division side Stockport in 2002. Lambert then again went a league lower joining third division side Rochdale. Lambert was destined to remain in the lower leagues of England as he moved to Bristol Rovers who were in the second division at that time. 

He then moved to Southampton who were relegated to League 1 and Lambert's career was nearing its end when Southampton clinched a sensational promotion to the Premier League. In the top flight, Lambert surprised everyone scoring 14 league goals and assisting eight times. 

1. Thomas Muller  | Bayern Munich & Germany 

Muller was promoted to the senior team from the reserves in 2009 and not much was expected of him, as managers would usually send him out on loan for experience. But Louis Van Gaal gave Muller a crucial chance, allowing him to start most of the season and he didn't disappoint scoring 13 goals and assisting 10 times in the league for Bayern. 

He was subsequently selected for the 2010 World Cup but eyes were on veteran strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose. Muller surprised all by scoring five goals in the tournament, winning the golden boot and young player of the tournament. 

In just one year Muller went from a reserve for Bayern to a household name in Germany. He has consistently scored in double figures for Bayern and he has notched up plenty of assists too making him one of the most vital players in Bayern's squad.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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